A taste of DAWN OF THE MAGES
Book 2 in the Magic Wakes Series
Four tiny suns washed out the sky, casting a mauve twilight over the dragon council. The dismal planet had been the dragon’s first world. It resided in a cluster of dying stars that had long since drifted outside the galactic disk. Life had ceased, and only cold barren rocks existed in the perpetual dusk. The dragon lords never stayed long, but it remained the preferred meeting ground when they were between spheres.
Jewel shuddered at the thought of living here. There would never again be warmth from the suns or life to fill the air with sound or smell. She’d been here an hour and already missed Sendek. With a sigh she returned her attention to those around her.
Dragons of every age and size filled the amphitheater-like valley. The dominant green clan took the place of honor on the field, but equal numbers of reds, blues, and silvers lined the perimeter. The hiss of their steamy breath conveyed the underlying tension as they waited for her report.
Feeling small in the midst of so many other dragons, Jewel paced the center of the circle before two males. One green, the other blue. Their normally bright colors dulled by the dim light on the planet. She wished she could see them in the blaze of Sendek’s suns once more. In the brightness of that planet they had shone with glittery opalescence equal to the spirits burning inside the flesh and bone bodies. This was her chance to convince them to return to the home of her heart.
“Lords Jenska and Elvin, the humans on Sendek have made a course change.” She studied the gathering carefully. Dragons were logical and cold on the surface, but she knew some of them harbored strong emotions. She would need to play by the rules in order to stay in their favor. Several necks stretched long to get a better view of the returned prodigal. She had spent most of seven thousand years hidden deep in a cave on Sendek.
“How does this concern us?” Elvin, the blue dragon questioned.
Jewel snapped to the present. “Because of recent events, it may be possible to return to a seeded planet. They need our help, and are willing to be instructed.” She struggled to keep her voice calm, formal. Don’t let them see the emotion simmering.
Elvin made a low chuffing sound and rubbed his foreleg across his sapphire chest. “I remember my last day on Sendek. Men do not want to learn from dragons. I have the scars to prove it.”
The tenuous hold on her emotions snapped. “Fa! That dragon body doesn’t carry the scars of the old one.”
Dragons hissed and snorted, some in disapproval others in the effort not to laugh. Jewel may not have held a high rank in the council, but that had never stopped her from speaking her mind. Especially where Lord Elvin was concerned.
“Maybe not, but I feel them all the same, my Jewel.” He swung his head closer. “I’ve missed you.”
“Don’t change the subject.” Her eyes glittered as she rounded on him, all attempts at keeping appearances vanished. Her heart pounded. The weight of thousands of eyes made her bolder. “The magic has awakened once more. Our descendants need guidance. Your guidance.”
“Jenska?” Elvin deferred to the jade dragon at his side.
“It’s too great a risk. We will continue to the next world as planned.”
Jewel tipped her head back and roared. “I tell you I’ve searched their minds. Sendek has the potential for success. They’ve made great strides on their own. They’ve protected their wild lands, the air quality is better than when you left, and they are reaching out to the stars.”
“Others have attained the stars, but their hearts were not ready to be one with the dragons.” Elvin spoke low, but all could hear his voice echoing in their minds.
“Stubborn man,” Jewel hissed.
“I’m no longer a man, just as you are no longer a woman. We are more than we were.”
“Exactly. You are the same spirit that first lived in the body of a man. A man who joined with dragons.” She circled him, but pleaded with the crowd. “History has once more set the stage for an evolutionary change. Sendek requires a second look.”
Silence filled the chilly air as the dragons held their breath. Jewel looked over their numbers, willing them to understand. “My children’s descendants survived the Signum’s purging. Their posterity knows the strength of magic again, but they lack boundaries. You can provide that.”
Jenska broke in with his deep baritone. “What makes you think they are ready for us?”
“The female has Elvin’s eyes, and I could smell his strength and magic in her blood.” She paused to take a deep breath. “Her lover has my markers. They are as we were, and have found each other the way we did centuries ago.”
“That doesn’t mean they are ready to bind with dragons.” Jenska snorted. “Elvin?”
Elvin paced a tight circle between her and Jenska. Every muscle tensed. He spoke low and directed his words solely to Jewel.
“I’m curious my Jewel, but we must think of the dragon-kin. They’ve allowed us to be reborn as one of them. It’s our duty to protect them. Not give in to our human desires. Jenska is right. We must move on.”
Jenska nodded his approval before addressing the council. “We will proceed to the chosen solar system. Perhaps we will have better luck with this new world. Start the portal process immediately.”
The multitude of heads nodded, stirring the steam into eddies. One by one the dragons flew off.
Jewel waited by Elvin’s side until they stood alone on the field. She hated this planet and longed for the solitude of her magma chamber on Sendek. The heat from her husband gave little consolation. There had to be a way to convince him to return to their true home.
“Elvin, we must go back. They have the potential to join us in their next life.”
“That isn’t reason enough.”
“There are others. Without our guidance they will fall back into war. Their current peace will be shattered.”
“Whatever peace they’ve achieved is an illusion. It’s not in their nature to welcome it for long.” His sides expanded with a giant sigh. “Even now I crave more action.”
“We made dragons better when we bonded with them, and they made us stronger.” She rested her head next to his. “Before us they stagnated for millennia. It’s time they took another leap forward. The people of Sendek will push them to the next level of evolution, but we must help the humans first. You have to stop deferring to Jenska.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“It is.” She looked him in the eye. “Plant the seeds of religion and visit them.”
“It’s too late for that.”
“I’m not giving up.”
Elvin spoke straight to her mind. “I don’t want you to.”
Read the rest of DAWN OF THE MAGES .